Russo brothers to write, direct Paramount film

“You, Me and Dupree” helmers Anthony and Joe Russo are hitting the mean streets of “Ciudad” for Paramount Pictures.

The Russos, who are writing the upcoming Oni Press graphic novel with Ande Parks, are attached to adapt and direct the bigscreen project.

Story centers on a weary hostage extractor who travels to Paraguay’s Ciudad del Este, a border town considered one of the world’s most dangerous and corrupt locales, to save a kidnap victim.

The brothers have been researching this story for several years and visited Johannesburg, South Africa, as well as other gritty metropolises to flesh out the story. They will be traveling to the South American city of 250,000 inhabitants soon; they’re looking to return to their gritty filmmaking roots.

A 2002 U.S. government report labeled Ciudad del Este “not only a den of low-technology criminality but also a haven for international money laundering” and called it a threat to national security “where the admixture of drug runners, terrorists and pinstriped bankers trespasses on the sovereignty and safety of democratic countries and their citizens.”

For the duo, the project marks a big departure tonally from their most recent work, the Owen Wilson comedy “You, Me and Dupree,” and harks back to their first two films: “Pieces” and the George Clooney starrer “Welcome to Collinwood.”

Eric Gitter of Closed on Mondays Entertainment, the producing arm of Oni Press, will produce. Oni’s prexy Peter Schwerin exec produces.

Oni will publish “Ciudad” in 2009.

The Russos have directed numerous TV pilots and episodes of series including “Arrested Development,” “Carpoolers” and the upcoming “Courtroom K.”

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